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I’m looking to sell or 2005 Honda Pilot EX-L. It has only 158k and it’s got leather, 6-disc changer, sunroof, running boards, etc. Does anyone have experience selling the similar Pilot? Is a private sale better than a dealer trade or Carmax-type option? I know that the people that have owned this class of pilot are fairly loyal to it so I’m hoping to get some reasonable value out of it. Any thoughts on this topic appreciated! Thanks in advance.
 

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Private sale will generally get you more money but be prepared to have it on the market for up to 3 months before you sell it at a good (for you) price. If you sell it between retail and trade in, you'll get more bites. You'll always get low ballers no matter what. Pilots are well know to be reliable to the right crowd, its those you'll have the best of luck selling to. Do you have service records? I would also mention and display them if you do.
 

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My experience selling cars (I’m not getting rid of the 2005 Pilot anytime soon?) is to sell it private party. The dealer will offer you a third to half of what you could get selling it on your own. As mentioned above pricing it right will make for a quicker sale. It will still take a bit of patience and effort to get it sold, but it’s worth it in my opinion.

From my experience to help filter out the sleaze all’s:
1) Talk to the buyer via phone before committing to a test drive. If you don’t get the warm and fuzzy pass.
2) Meet in a busy location (grocery store parking lot or the likes) so buyer doesn’t know where you live in case your gut tells you something isn’t right
when you meet in person.
3) Make it clear the financial transfer will occur inside your bank. They have lots of security cameras. I counted seven at my local branch when I sold my previous Tacoma.

Good luck with the sale.
 

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My experience selling cars (I’m not getting rid of the 2005 Pilot anytime soon?) is to sell it private party. The dealer will offer you a third to half of what you could get selling it on your own. As mentioned above pricing it right will make for a quicker sale. It will still take a bit of patience and effort to get it sold, but it’s worth it in my opinion.

From my experience to help filter out the sleaze all’s:
1) Talk to the buyer via phone before committing to a test drive. If you don’t get the warm and fuzzy pass.
2) Meet in a busy location (grocery store parking lot or the likes) so buyer doesn’t know where you live in case your gut tells you something isn’t right
when you meet in person.
3) Make it clear the financial transfer will occur inside your bank. They have lots of security cameras. I counted seven at my local branch when I sold my previous Tacoma.

Good luck with the sale.
All great advice.

4) Go to the DMV together.
 

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Every time I have purchased or sold a car private seller (I am in Georgia so things may be different), they usually look at the car, leave, then we text/call back and forth and work on the price. I usually do cash only (Typically hasn't been more than $5,000). I have a little template that I created for a Bill of Sale. I include the VIN and the agreed purchase price. I have 2 copies, 1 for me and one for the buyer (or seller if I'm buying a car). We both sign and date. I will just sign the title right there (or vice versa) and exchange the cash. I've met at home a few times or at a church parking lot nearby.

I don't think GA requires a bill of sale, as long as the title is signed over. No reason to go to the DMV together (at least in GA). I've purchased a car using a cashier's check from my bank a few times, but I have yet to accept one. I guess there are still risks associated with a cashier's check but oh well.

Also if advertised online, I don't always respond to every inquiry and if it looks like a copy,paste kind of thing, I delete and block immediately.

Personally, for a 2005 car, I don't see a need to meet in a bank, etc. If it were a $15,000+ car then I would be much more cautious but $5-6,000 not as much. Good luck with your sale and I hope you get a fair price!
 

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No reason to go to the DMV together (at least in GA).
This gives me a bit more reassurance that a squirrelly seller's title isn't red-flagged, or that a buyer is less likely to use the car in his next drive-by shooting or as a disposable (and perhaps traceable to you) getaway car in his next bank heist or other nefarious deed. ?
 

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Also, I'm not sure if they are available in your area, but a site called LazyChimp.com is a pretty cool way to sell your car appearantly. They have a physical location you meet the buyer at, you get multiple offers on thier platform. I almost bought a sequoia off them from a private seller (got the pilot instead). The best way to put it, they give a private seller the visibility of a dealership.
 

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I've had relatively good luck with CL sales and if you're willing to invest the time to sell a car this way, it is, I think, the best way to get a good return. I just sold a car this way (not a Pilot). The other option which can get you high returns is Ebay, but the process is much more involved and because the investment of the bidder is so low, you will likely get a lot of folks who back out requiring you to restart the whole process again.

For CL, take the time to write a good ad that includes all the pertinent information in a clear/organized way but without embellishment. If the car has removable accessories (e.g., a phone bracket) take them off the car - try and make the car look as stock as you can. If the car has issues that will show up with any decent inspection, be up front about them. Check spelling. Maybe have someone read the ad before publishing to catch errors or omissions. After publishing, revise the ad if you see improvements or buyers point out things they didn't understand. Take lots of really good photos in good light of both the exterior, interior, doors open/closed, underhood, etc. and use a photo editor to touch them up. Take enough that you can cherry pick the best ones. If you're including stuff like the the original OM, shop manual, mats, etc., take photos of these and include them also.

Price the car realistically. Do your research.... KBB, NADA, other CL ads, etc. A well-marketed private party sale will usually be about halfway between the wholesale/trade value and dealer retail value, although once a car gets older or has any collector value, KBB and NADA will undervalue it, sometimes grossly - a mint 20-yo one-owner BMW M3, for example, may be easily worth twice book value, but I'd always run a parallel ad for these sorts of cars in an enthusiast forum like this one. Leave some dickering room in your price, but not a lot - I price a car maybe 5-10% over what I'd take in negotiations. If you do run multiple ads, run them simultaneously so all your offers are more likely to arrive at once and you can pick the best.

Run the ad in all the CL markets where one might reasonably expect someone to travel to see the car. Run basically the same ad everywhere and with the same price..... it's a red flag to a buyer if they see the car priced differently in different ads.

If the car has a lien, pay it off if you can afford to. It makes things so much simpler to have a clear title with no liens.

Because I run serious ads, I typically get serious buyers. I always get a flurry of "What's the absolute lowest price you would accept" emails, or "I'll give you half of what you're asking" emails but I just politely brush them off and they subside quickly. I've never had any issue with seeing the obviously scams and con artists, but you do want to be reasonably careful. You sometimes get someone who wants to do some kind of crazy song/dance to see the car or who sees it and then starts making ridiculous offers, but this has been rare for me. I work through email (which CL does a good job of hiding your real address), but then might start using text messages if I get good vibes from a serious buyer. Always do a bill of sale (states have forms on line) that includes the phrase about the car being sold "as is". I only accept cash although this can become a bit impractical/dangerous for cars with very high value or when the buyer needs to get a loan. On a 15-yo Pilot, this shouldn't be an issue.

I've actually made a few friends selling cars. The last car I sold was to a woman who has asked my advice several times about various minor problems since I sold her the car.

If this all sounds like a hassle and time consuming, it is, but it's not hard. On a car like a 2005 Pilot, doing this work would probably net you $2.5K over what you might get just wholesaling the car. What's your time worth?

If you're buying another car to replace the one you're selling, figure out the sales tax angles. Many states only charge sales tax on the difference between the new car and the trade, whereas a private sale of the old car will mean you pay full sales tax on the new car. In cases where the old car's value is anything approaching the new car's, this tax advantage can wipe out the extra money you'd make in a private sale.

Good luck.

- Mark
 

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Tons of good stuff there @markjenn

In addition to that, I would also scan into a pdf any and all service records & recalls (with any super private info blacked out, but that's personal preference). Theres two types of buyers and sellers out there, low priced that needs some maintenance or work, and then there's well maintained, road trip ready, at the right price.
 

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I bought a 2005 pilot with 150k, full service records, timing belt done, needing only a couple things, with perfect interior, 90% exterior, zero rust, easy climate, 2 owner. I paid $5500. It needed a valve adjustment, ignition tune-up, fluid changes, and an air filter. Driven only in Santa Fe and Sedona, mostly highway miles. Had this been in Cleveland or some other rust prone area, it would have only been worth 2500 because of the harsh conditions. Out here (mountains) AWD gets a premium, other areas not so much. Sell it on craigslist, Facebook marketplace is worthless. Have it cleaned and ready to go before you list it, and quit driving it once its listed. Get your title signed or whatever is required in your state. Really, having the keys, owners manual, reciepts, title, accessories all ready to go is super important, I have passed over cars because the owner wasn't ready to sell as it makes it look fishy. I won't even consider a vehicle without a signed, notorized title in hand (requireed in AZ). Expect the real buyers to contact you and ask about the title, miles, service history, and the "story" behind the car; the scammers will all ask how low you will go before even seeing the car, its the sure tip off when they want to negotiate sight-unseen - it is ALWAYS a scam when they bring up price in a text or email. No real buyer will negotiate sight-unseen unless they are a junkyard.
 

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A couple of reference points to help you price it. Both of these are from the Midwest.

We sold our 2005 EX-L (~125K miles) about 2.5 years ago for just under $2000. The price was severely discounted, as it almost certainly needed a new transmission and radiator, as the radiator had failed and contaminated the transmission with coolant. The buyer planned to fix it himself. Prior to that the Pilot was in great shape and I probably would have asked around $5000-5500.

A relative recently sold their 2005 EX-L for $4,250. They had done major work to their Pilot years prior but it was in good shape at the time of sale. IIRC their mileage was around 150-160K and the work done was rebuilding their engine and transmission.
 

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I got hammered at Carmax when I sold my Ford Explorer. I would bypass them unless they do trades and you get the deal you want.
 

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....the scammers will all ask how low you will go before even seeing the car, its the sure tip off when they want to negotiate sight-unseen - it is ALWAYS a scam when they bring up price in a text or email. No real buyer will negotiate sight-unseen unless they are a junkyard.
I somewhat disagree. While I don't ask whats the lowest they'll go or low-ball them (poor negotiation tactic), I do get a baseline going with them. I have bought a few sub cars like this. Some will say no, in person only, but most others are willing to do some negotiation through messaging/text/email. Some cars are over an hour away, so I will get into the ballpark via other means before in-person negotiating, I'm not about to waste a bunch of time if they weren't willing to get near where I wanted to be. Some people specify in the ad "in person negotiating only" or "best cash offer in person only" and I respect that. This is after I ask the seller about everything else I need to know.
 

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I somewhat disagree. While I don't ask whats the lowest they'll go or low-ball them (poor negotiation tactic), I do get a baseline going with them. I have bought a few sub cars like this. Some will say no, in person only, but most others are willing to do some negotiation through messaging/text/email. Some cars are over an hour away, so I will get into the ballpark via other means before in-person negotiating, I'm not about to waste a bunch of time if they weren't willing to get near where I wanted to be. Some people specify in the ad "in person negotiating only" or "best cash offer in person only" and I respect that. This is after I ask the seller about everything else I need to know.
Sometimes, I'll do a really low offer and say I'll buy it sight unseen. Otherwise I'll need to look at it and have it inspected before we can go forward. I've actually had a few good purchases doing that (although it's a bit risky). I am very picky on who I buy from. If they are a dealer selling it as private I won't consider it.
 

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From a different perspective... I purchased my 2006 pilot on e-bay just about a year ago. While it had "seasoned" life as a family transporter... (lot's of spills and stains on the floor and seats along with plenty of scratches and paint blemishes...) it seemed solid by picture. The owner took the vehicle to a Honda dealership to have them go over it and provide a list of suggestions. This list, along with other pictures completed the ad. The professional review of the vehicle is just what the doctor ordered! Now, 30,000 miles later, I feel very confident that I purchased a vehicle with no surprises. Good luck!
 
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